Whilst the top two were held to draws, allowing Napoli and Fiorentina to close the gap a little, Dave Taylor assembles a best XI from Week 23.
Mattia Perin [Genoa]
Well placed to stop a Paulinho effort early on and called into action on several other occasions. In the second half he palmed a Marco Benassi thunderbolt out from under the bar then stopped a Djame Mesbah screamer. Fabulous.
Walter Samuel [Inter]
In a first game back since early November his return saw a much improved defensive set up. It also saw Inter win their first game of the new year as the experienced veteran scored the winner into the bargain. Tremendous.
Mehdi Benatia [Roma]
Kept Miroslav Klose quiet at all times while making sure any danger was cut out at birth. Also got up field to worry Lazio but read the game superbly and readily displayed his intelligence and foresight. Astute.
Giuseppe Biava [Lazio]
Made a handful of important interceptions and worked well with Stefan Radu blocking balls to Francesco Totti throughout, while not allowing the other forwards any breathing space. Perceptive.
Juan Cuadrado [Fiorentina]
A man of the match performance that saw him devastate Cristiano Del Grosso and Luca Cigarini on several occasions. His runs down the flank caused problems all match and he also had two dangerous shots blocked at the last moment. Overwhelming.
Gokhan Inler [Napoli]
Always on the front foot and scored a fabulous looping long-range goal for the equaliser. He then laid the cream on top of the very best Kopi Luwak with an awesome assist for Gonzalo Higuain’s first. Sensational.
The Brazilian shone on his debut and caused problems with his pace, passes and pressure while also taking the skin off the post with a first half shot. Just after half-time it was his perfect cross that made Samuel’s goal. Impressive.
Dries Mertens [Napoli]
The Belgian caused real problems for the Milan defenders, running at them with the sort of pace that destroyed them. He was at the heart of most of Napoli’s best moves and delivered several dangerous crosses. Inspiring.
Jonathan Cristaldo [Bologna]
The 24-year-old Argentinean was the best player on the pitch winning the game with an alertness that saw him score from two rebounds. Such was his impact perhaps Alessandro Diamanti won’t be such a big loss. Exciting.
Antonio Di Natale [Udinese]
Once again he confirmed his well-founded reputation with a perfectly met half-volley that screamed past Christian Puggioni into the far bottom corner. He also played a massive part in Bruno Fernandes’ goal with a back-heel flick of Zico-like proportions. Magnificent.
Gonzalo Higuain [Napoli]
Was at his potent best and gave Milan several warnings before scoring a well-taken brace. The first saw him direct Inler’s perfect pass past Abbiati with a dynamic header before being in the right place to score his second. Imposing.
Special mentions: Rafal Wolski [Fiorentina], Bruno Fernandes [Udinese], Ciro Immobile [Torino],
Maicon [Roma], Kwadwo Asamoah [Juventus], Luca Toni [Verona], Carlos Tevez [Juventus], Daniele Gastaldello [Sampdoria].
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